Misconceptions about paternity testing

Karolina Baker, Alphabiolabs

By Karolina Baker, Health Testing Specialist at AlphaBiolabs
Last reviewed: 24/04/2024

In this article, we debunk some of the most common misconceptions surrounding DNA paternity testing.

Myth vs. reality

1. Paternity testing is invasive and dangerous – involving invasive procedures/sample collection

Paternity testing is neither invasive nor dangerous.

To perform a paternity DNA test, such as those offered by AlphaBiolabs, a cheek cell DNA sample is collected from the child and the alleged father(s) using a swab, which is rubbed gently and painlessly on the inside of each sample donor’s cheek.

This simple, pain-free method of sample collection means that the test can be performed on anyone of any age, from new-born babies to older children and adults, with no risk whatsoever.

In circumstances where a sample donor is unavailable or unable to provide a cheek swab DNA sample for testing, alternative samples such as nail clippings or toothbrushes can be used to carry out a DNA viability study.

If a DNA profile can be extracted from a used toothbrush or from nail clippings, then a DNA relationship test – such as a paternity test – can be performed.      

Toothbrush DNA testing and Nail DNA testing are also completely non-invasive, risk-free forms of DNA testing.

2. A paternity test can only be performed after a baby is born

It is entirely possible to perform a paternity test before a baby is born.

A prenatal paternity test – also known as a non-invasive prenatal paternity or NIPP test – can be performed as early as seven weeks into pregnancy, making it possible to verify the identity of the biological father while the mother is still pregnant.

This type of paternity test is also 100% risk free for all sample donors taking part in the test, including the mother and unborn baby.

For a NIPP test, three samples are required:

  • a blood sample from the mother’s arm
  • two buccal (cheek) swab samples from the mother and
  • two cheek swab samples from the alleged father(s)

The laboratory will then analyse the foetal (baby) DNA that circulates within the mother’s blood and compare it to the DNA sample provided by the alleged father(s) to verify paternity.

AlphaBiolabs is the only UK DNA laboratory to hold UKAS ISO 17025 accreditation for prenatal paternity testing.

3. Paternity testing is only accurate up to 99%

The AlphaBiolabs Paternity Test is 100% accurate and reliable, based on the samples we receive at our laboratory. We test up to 45 DNA markers (loci), so you can be confident of getting an accurate result.

AlphaBiolabs works to internationally-recognised standards for laboratory testing, and our laboratory holds UKAS ISO 17025 accreditation, meaning that our customers can have complete confidence as to the reliability of our paternity test results.

4. Home paternity tests are not reliable

Advancements in DNA technology mean that home paternity tests offer a 100% accurate and reliable way of verifying the identity of a child’s biological father. 

Reputable testing laboratories, such as AlphaBiolabs, ensure peace of mind at-home paternity test kits include detailed, easy-to-follow instructions for DNA sample collection.

When followed, this ensures samples are collected correctly for analysis at the laboratory, providing reliable results.  

Factors that can affect the reliability of a paternity test result include:

  • If someone tries to ‘cheat’ the test by deliberately submitting incorrect samples. This will obviously deliver a false result.
  • If the test swabs are accidentally or deliberately contaminated in any way. This will result in the need to retake the test.

Additionally, testing laboratories cannot know if the samples being submitted are from the correct people and a level of trust is therefore needed between the people requesting and taking part in the test.

AlphaBiolabs utilises the latest market-leading DNA technology and operates in line with rigorous industry standards for DNA testing. We have performed over ONE MILLION genetic tests since 2004, so you can be assured that our award-winning UK laboratory will provide the answers you need.*

Please note: the results of a peace of mind at-home paternity test are for your information only and cannot be used in court or for other official matters. If you require a DNA paternity test for legal purposes, you will need to instruct us for a Legal Paternity Test.

5. It can take weeks or months to receive a paternity test result

Scientific advancements in DNA technology mean it is now possible to receive a paternity test result extremely quickly. 

AlphaBiolabs offers the fastest paternity test results in the industry, with results provided the next day*, as standard. However, you can choose to upgrade to same day* results for an additional fee.

As soon as you order your paternity test online, your kit will be sent out the same day.

Once you have received your kit and collected your cheek swab samples, you will need to post the samples back to our UK laboratory using the self-addressed envelope included in your kit.

As soon as your DNA samples arrive at our laboratory, testing can begin.

Once we have completed our analysis, our expert reporting scientists will prepare your results. Your secure results will then be emailed to you either the same day* or next day*, depending on which option you chose when placing your order.

*From receipt of your samples at our laboratory, before 10am.

6. Paternity testing is prohibitively expensive

Due to huge scientific and technological advances, home DNA paternity testing is now much more affordable and accessible than ever before. This has led to an increased demand for home DNA tests in recent years.

An AlphaBiolabs Paternity Test is the fastest and most reliable paternity test in the UK. The cost of the test includes FREE shipping for your test kit, and all fees for laboratory testing and analysis.  

It is worth noting that a legal paternity test for court or other official matters will cost a little more, due to the requirement for chain of custody procedures to be followed during sample collection.

For more information on legal DNA testing, call our Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300, email info@alphabiolabs.com or visit this page.

7. All DNA testing companies provide the same level of service

The standard of service can vary dramatically between DNA laboratories, so it is important to consider your options carefully before purchasing a DNA test.

DNA testing is often an extremely sensitive process, the results of which can have a significant impact on families. This makes the reliability and trustworthiness of the DNA laboratory crucial.

As a leading UK provider of DNA testing for members of the public, family law firms and social workers, we know that techniques, methodology and outstanding customer service play a key role in building customer confidence in a DNA testing laboratory. 

Here are a few reasons to choose AlphaBiolabs for DNA testing, including paternity tests:

  • Same-day results offered as standard on almost all our DNA tests – or upgrade to next day results for an additional fee*
  • Over 1 million genetic tests performed since the company was established in 2004
  • All testing performed in-house at our UK laboratory, by highly skilled DNA scientists, using the very latest scientific techniques and methodology
  • UKAS ISO 17025 accredited
  • Accredited by the Ministry of Justice to carry out DNA relationship tests as directed by the civil courts in England and Wales under Section 21 of the Family Law Reform Act (1969)
  • Our legal DNA test results are accepted by Family Courts, Child Maintenance Service, the Home Office and UK Visas and Immigration
  • We ensure 100% privacy and confidentiality for all our customers. We password protect and will never sell your data. We also adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • We can analyse up to 45 DNA markers (loci), providing additional reassurance regarding your DNA test result
  • ‘Excellent’ rating on Trustpilot based on real feedback from satisfied customers

*From receipt of samples at our laboratory, before 10am.

Where can I get a paternity test?

AlphaBiolabs excels in offering fast, accurate, and reliable paternity testing using cheek (buccal) swabs – the industry-wide gold standard for relationship DNA testing,

Our DNA Paternity Test is the fastest and most popular DNA paternity test in the UK, analysing up to 45 DNA markers for a 100% accurate result.

You can order an AlphaBiolabs Paternity Test online now, direct from our UKAS-accredited laboratory, to receive next-day or even same-day results.

Got questions about our paternity testing? Call our friendly and discreet Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300 or email info@alphabiolabs.com to discuss your requirements.

Order your home paternity test

Buy an AlphaBiolabs Paternity Test online now from just £99, with results available the next working day.

Karolina Baker, AlphaBiolabs

Karolina Baker

Health Testing Specialist at at AlphaBiolabs

Karolina joined AlphaBiolabs in 2021, and holds the role of Health Testing Specialist.

As well as overseeing a range of health tests, Karolina plays an active role in the research and development of the company’s latest health test offerings.

Before joining AlphaBiolabs, Karolina worked as an Associate Practitioner at Mid-Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and as a research assistant at the Turner Laboratory, within the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health at The University of Manchester.

Karolina’s main scientific interests include clinical genomics and genetic diagnostics. Her qualifications include a BSc in Molecular Biology and an MSc in Genomic Medicine.

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